Best Single Resource on Organic Pest Control

The Best Book on Organic Pest Control

This book is one of the best guides in my personal library for organic pest control recommendations for my garden. 

It includes a wealth of information, which is provided in a very easy-to-use format.   It covers a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants, and is divided into 4 main parts:

  1. Preventing Problems by Promoting Plant Health
  2. Symptoms and Solutions (an extremely easy-to-use index)
  3. Identifying Pests and Diseases
  4. Organic Pest and Disease Management

The first chapter describes how to prevent problems by promoting plant health – one of the basic principles of organic gardening. If I build up healthy soil, select disease and insect-resistant varieties, and give my plants their ideal growing conditions (enough sun and/or shade, good moisture levels and drainage, cool or hot weather), I usually only have a few problems to deal with in my garden.

The large center section of the book describes, plant by plant, the various issues – both diseases and insect pests – that you might run into and how best to solve them. I have found it very easy to look up any problems I come across in my garden

I really LOVE this section, the largest portion of the book, where you can look up a particular plant, and then quickly browse through various symptoms to help you identify your particular problem.  I have found it very easy to look up many problems that I come across in my garden

Then you are directed to the section that gives you options for controlling that problem.  This book includes hundreds of helpful photos.  Though small, they can give you an idea on what you may be dealing with.

The last section of the book describes how to choose the right strategies and products to deal with various garden pests and diseases. There are a couple of insect pests that I will just hand-pick. I use barrier methods to keep a few others off of specific plants.

I rarely use any organic dusts or sprays, although I find slug-control products like Sluggo® very helpful. They use iron phosphate, a common mineral, as the toxic ingredient for snails and slugs. I will also sometimes choose to grow certain plants at the time of year when their worst pest isn’t active.

I also focus on attracting and supporting beneficial insects in my yard and garden, although this book doesn't go into much detail about that. Beneficial insects will never be able to keep your garden completely pest-free, but they can often help keep pests down to more manageable levels.

Last, but not least, I learn to accept a certain amount of damage to a few of my plants. Some plants, such as beans, can lose up to 20% of their leaves to insect pests and still produce a large, healthy crop.

However, I have no tolerance for small green caterpillars hiding in my heads of broccoli!  By using light-weight row covers over my cabbage-family crops, I’m able to easily keep the plants caterpillar free.

Although there are many small photos in the book, they are not always the best quality. If I can’t see the pest or disease clearly enough in the book, it usually gives me good enough suggestions for me to do a quick internet search to better identify what I’m dealing with. Sometimes I’ll need to take a diseased plant or insect sample to my local Cooperative Extension office for help in identification.

This book has been a very worthwhile addition to my library.  I highly recommend it!

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way (Rodale Organic Gardening Books) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to